Date — 16 January, 2011
The Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days seamlessly takes up a tradition established by this watch family that goes back over 25 years. When the first Portofino watch took the world by storm in 1984, it was a scintillating combination of understated elegance and precision mechanics. The watch was, and still is, a perfect piece for connoisseurs. This is particularly true of the Portofino family’s new flagship, which will also appeal to devotees of complex yet highly functional watchmaking. For ticking away inside the elegant, round case is the new IWC-manufactured 59210 calibre: designed and built using state-of-the-art methods, it never loses sight of Schaffhausen’s great watchmaking tradition.
For more than a quarter of a century, the Portofino watch family has been the epitome of the classical wristwatch, its design a distillation of the entire know-how and experience of IWC’s engineers. This applies especially to the new Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days, whose elegance and technological sophistication have established it as the flagship of the Portofino family. A case measuring 45 millimetres in diameter ensures that it cannot fail to be noticed, but thanks to the simple, round shape it still appears pleasingly discreet. Connoisseurs with a weakness for beautiful things and technological perfection will be enraptured by the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days.
Ticking away inside the case of the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is the newly developed IWC-manufactured movement from the 50000-calibre family
Making a big show of things is simply not the style of the centrepiece of this watch family: what counts in the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days are inner qualities and technical superiority. Ticking away inside the case is the newly developed IWC-manufactured movement from the 50000-calibre family, measuring a hefty 37.8 millimetres in diameter. The 59219 calibre is the same size as a pocket watch movement, but its design is incomparably more modern. As you would expect, it is highly robust and reliable, and designed to meet all the exacting demands of watch devotees in the 21st century. Despite its undisputed elegance, the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is a watch made for everyday use through and through – as it has already proved in tough and extensive testing in the IWC laboratories.
In keeping with the movement’s size, IWC’s engineers equipped the 59210 calibre with an extra large barrel, which ensures that the latest, hand-wound Portofino will keep running for an unusually long time. It is capable of storing enough energy for a full nine days. Instead of making use of all this potential, however, IWC designers chose to insert a gear that stops the movement after precisely 192 hours, or 8 days. Causing the movement to stop before all the tension in the spring has been exhausted eliminates the danger of diminishing torque in the mainspring. This ensures that the same level of accuracy is maintained the whole time the watch is running. Precisely how long the watch will continue to run before its owner needs to wind the movement can be read off from the power reserve display on the dial. But the owner who chooses to wind his Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days once a week over Sunday breakfast is certainly on the safe side.
The strong mainspring is just one of several design elements that help to guarantee the watch’s precision. The new movement also features an indexless balance, which is precision-adjusted using the four golden weight screws on the balance rim. Its frequency, as is by now standard for modern watch movements, is 4 Hertz, or 28,800 beats per hour. This, like the Breguet spiral bent into shape using traditional watchmaking techniques, also helps to make the watch so accurate.
The modernity of the movement is likewise underscored by its design. The rear of the movement is dominated by two large bridges that conceal it entirely except for the balance. The upper bridge serves as the bearing for the barrel, the differential and the winding mechanism, the lower bridge for the power reserve display. Apart from this, it also conceals the train bridge below. All the bridges and cocks are exquisitely decorated with Geneva stripes or circular graining. Standing out at the centre is the engraving “Probus Scafusia” – “Good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”.
IWC’s designers have remained true to the classical Portofino style not only in the circular case with its smooth, flowing strap horns, but also in the design of the dial. The placing of the displays – small seconds at “6 o’clock”, date at “3 o’clock” and power reserve between “8” and “9” – ensures that the layout is finely balanced. The hours and minutes are shown by feuille hands that revolve above the embossed, solid indices and the Roman XII. The red gold Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days comes with a slate-coloured dial, which likewise features indices made of solid red gold. It is also available in a simple stainless-steel case, this time with a silver-plated dial with rose-gold-plated indices or a black dial with rhodium-plated indices.
All versions of the watch are secured to the wrist by a unique pale brown or dark brown alligator leather strap made by the renowned Italian shoemakers Santoni. The straps are fitted with pin buckles as standard. Straps with folding clasps are also available as an option.
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